Pictures Of Things

July 3rd, 2014 - posted under: Furthermore » Feedback

yellow flowers in box

I’m thinking of trying something new.

I have this weird compulsion with this blog, this self-imposed requirement that says everything I post has to be “valuable content”. Recipes, instructionals, that sort of stuff.

But when I read other blogs, do you know what I love?

Pretty pictures of everyday life. “Bits and Pieces”, “Life Lately” – those types of posts are what I love to look at in my rare and precious downtime. And so, here and now, I’m giving it a shot. It’s a big step for me! And since I cannot silence that little voice in the back of my mind hollering about creating value, I will leave you with a Love List and ask that you please leave me with yours. Because there’s nothing more valuable than shared gratitude. Yes?

Okay. Here we go! Oh also, if this becomes a regular thing on the blog (and please let me know if you’d like it to — or if not!), it’ll need a nifty name. I’m open to suggestions.

Basically, this is a big ‘ol experiment, can you tell? Onwards!


flowers from the garden

My very first bouquet of homegrown flowers.


making stock kitchen scraps
Homemade veggie broth with all my kitchen scraps.


Petit Vour makeup box
My July Petit Vour beauty box was chock full of amazing cruelty-free goodies. Gorgeous too, as always.


i fucking heart you necklace
This surprise gift from my sweetheart. And how, this man does know me.


bromeliad flower
Bromeliads bloom just once, only one strange spiky bloom in their whole entire life. And Jeremy’s is blooming, right now. ♥


tarot reading starts with deathbest tarot reading ever

A reading that begins with death . . . and ends as the BEST and most insightful tarot pull ever.


vaccination face
NOT a happy camper in the waiting room for his vaccination.


sprout with seed hat
Ultimate cuteness in my garden: still wearing its little seed hat.


tomato plant
My first tomato is juuuust about ready.


socal beach baby
This kid. And these days. So much.



And now, the best way to kick off the weekend, I’ll show you mine if you please show me yours . . . Le Love List!

Fireworks! Can’t help it, I love them. // My video interview with Eco-Vegan Gal all about raising vegan children, preventing ex-vegans, and all sorts of other good stuff. It was so much fun and Whitney is amazing – I hope you had a chance to check it out! // Growing starts from seed. A million little sprouts. I love my garden. // I’m watching Reality Bites right now, it is one of the formative films of my youth, and it is fan-tastic. // The ocean is warmer than it’s been in years. I don’t know what’s going on or why, but I’ll take it! // I wrote my very first grant proposal. Like a wee baby bird, my advisor pushed me out of the nest with one firm shove, and I was flying solo, flapping madly for a few crazy days. But I got myself centered, buckled down, and got it done. And . . . I think it actually turned out pretty dang good! Either way I was proud, but please cross your fingers for us to get the grant and fund our work this summer. // Giant salads. Always. // Partnering with Vegan Cuts to curate a Vegan Family Starter Kit! That was a really fun one. // Bad tv marathons that just don’t stop. // Waits’s bedroom is really coming together, I can’t wait to show you all the whole giant makeover! // Inspired vegans who never fail to inspire. // Summer. Summer. Summer is heeeeeeere!

Alright guys, now it’s your turn! I hope you’ll leave your own little Love List in the comments below, and let us all know what’s making you smile these days. And, if you have any thoughts on these picture posts, let me know. Either way I want to hear. I promise!

Happy weekend, and American readers, have a safe 4th of July!

♥ ♥ ♥

Cheap & Easy Compost Bin System

July 2nd, 2014 - posted under: The Farm » Flora

bin composting system.jpg

Confession time: despite my best intentions, it took me over 6 months to get my compost system up and running in this house. We were busy adjusting to our new life, I guess, and it just kept getting pushed aside.

That is, until my godfather upgraded his own composting system (he built a beautiful wood and wire bin system – maybe I’ll photograph it some time) and offered me his old bins.

Yes! I was in business.

I’ve been composting for a little over a year now, which means I’m churning out batches of black-gold-plant-power at pretty regular intervals. It’s gold, I tell you! Garden gold.


vegan compost

After my recent gardening posts (one and two), readers began asking about easy composting systems. And guys, it doesn’t get much easier (and cheaper!) than this. Bin composting.

The idea behind bin composting is simple. You move your compost through a series of containers, slowly over time, thereby mixing it and aerating it along the way. Compost needs to turn over in order to break down into dirt (as opposed to just rotting), and transferring a batch from one bin to another is a perfect way to achieve this effect.

Like so:


compost in bins steps.jpg

So it goes like this, when bin 1 (far left) is full and ready to transfer, remove all the finished product — now fully composted pure garden gold — from bin 4 (far right). I put my finished compost in a 5-gallon bucket so I can carry it around my yard, feeding my plants along the way.

With bin 4 now empty, you can transfer the contents of bin 3 (second from right) into bin 4. Use a shovel or pitchfork and make sure you get it good and tossed.

Now bin 3 will be empty, so move the contents of bin 2 (second from left) to bin 3, using the same “toss and aerate” technique. You’ll also want to add “browns” here. In the diagram above I said hay because that’s what I use, but any “browns” (dry matter – see my comprehensive composting article for more on that) will do. You need to add in “browns” along the way in order to keep the correct ratio of nitrogen (“greens”, ie kitchen scraps) to carbon (“browns”, ie hay, dried leaves, etc). Make sense?

With bin 2 empty you can now transfer the contents of bin 1 over to bin 2. Don’t forget to add in some “browns”!

And finally, that leaves an empty bin 1, ready to start collecting all of your kitchen scraps and yard waste, once again.

All said and done, a single complete transfer will go from this:


bin compost system

That’s dryer lint in bin 1 on the far left. Yup, it’s compostable!


To this:


compost using rubber bins
With a nice bed of hay all laid down in bin 1, ready for the next round of fresh compostables.


And that’s all there is to it. Setting yourself up with a bin composting system is incredibly cheap, especially if you can find the bins secondhand like I did (check garage sales and resale sites like Craigslist for some super scores). Oh, and make sure you poke some holes along the bottoms of the bins, so the wormies can get in. Worms and bugs are your compost pals!

If you’re concerned about composting in plastic (obviously I’m not, but I understand if you are), you can achieve the same effect with wood or metal. Like I said, my godfather built some wood and wire bins that are quite lovely, and some day I hope to do the same.

And that, my friends, is that.

So, do you compost at home? Do you use a bin composting system, or something else entirely? Let’s talk compost down below!

More Photos From My 2014 Yard & Garden Adventure

June 27th, 2014 - posted under: The Farm » Flora

sunflower

Waits’s first sunflower of the year! So proud of my baby boy gardener.



A few weeks back, I introduced you all to my 2014 yard and garden. But that post got cut short . . . because it was so long! So many pictures and I didn’t even get to my front yard. So here it is! The rest of the tour, over around the front of the house. Here’s what’s been going on . . .


grow kale in wine boxes

All through the fall I grew hardy greens – kale, chard, and collards – in wine boxes on my front porch. Every morning I harvested leaves for our green smoothies, that perfect trio of kale, chard, and collards. They’re pretty much gone by now, but oh, they were good while they lasted!


handful of homegrown greens
♥ Every morning ♥


And as the season warmed up, I began adding other vegetables to my yard. I’ve got quite the collection of wine box squashes and melons:


container garden squash
Pumpkins, pumpkins, watermelon, and honeydew.


Last year I grew a few jalapeño plants, and they provided plenty of fruit for my preservation fun. So this year, I thought I’d do the same. I purchased a single pepper plant:


pepper growth
Growing, growing, grown!


Which was fun, buuuuut . . . one pepper plant just isn’t enough! One night, way too late, I started reading about pepper preservation: homemade chili flakes, homemade hot sauce, and on and on. And, well, it was all over.


IMG_8394

A wine box pepper garden! I’m growing jalapeños, poblanos (to make anchos – for enchilada sauce!), tabasco chilis, and a single Hungarian purple pepper for my sweetheart. I can’t wait to harvest these babies!

And in other news, I’m growing herbs. LOTS of herbs:


herbs in pots on porch
A few of my herbs – oregano, marjoram, cilantro, and mint. I’m also growing parsley, savory, stevia, rosemary, thyme, and this:


lemongrass in pot

Homegrown lemongrass! I’ve had some trouble keeping this plant happy, but I’m really excited to finally use it in my cooking this summer.

I’m also growing some flowers out in the front, and they’re juuuust starting to bloom. I love a bud just before it opens – cinched up tight and full of potential, unable to hide the hint of color that’s just about to burst forth. I love the blooms, but the buds . . . the sweet promise carried in those buds . . . that might be my favorite part of all.


zinnia bud

Let’s see, what else? I’m growing a second round of tomatoes out front! They’re so cute when they’re small.


tomatoes in wooden boxes

And finally, the most exciting prospective project in my own yard and garden. These two:


trellis loofah plants

These may look unassuming, but they are anything but. They are, in fact, the pièce de résistance in my 2014 garden. And you’ll just have to wait to see if they turn out . . . just like I will.

~~~

So now it’s your turn!

What are you growing, and how’s it going? Please share, and if you can, link to your garden updates and photos. We’re all dying to see!! (well, at least I know I am)

Happy gardening everyone!

Thrilled To Announce The “Vegan Family Starter Kit,” A Box I Co-Curated With Vegan Cuts, Is Now Available!

June 25th, 2014 - posted under: Merchandise




A few months back I was approached by Vegan Cuts, asking me to partner with them to co-curate a specialty box. As you all know, I adore Vegan Cuts and love what they’re doing — I’m a regular subscriber of their Snack Box, and I’m a big fan of the monthly Beauty Box as well. So I jumped at the chance to partner up! And this, this eco-friendly and vegan Family Starter Kit, is the sweet little lovechild borne of our union. Yay!


vegan family starter kit sayward bonzai aphrodite

Photo via Vegan Cuts


This delightful little delivery box is packed to the brim with treasures for your kids, for YOU, and for the whole family to enjoy. From reusable food pouches, to organic creams and body products, to eco-friendly wipes, it’s the perfect little kit to get your family party started. And I’m so, so proud to be a part of it!

You can watch my video above for a sneak peak into the box (and some super kiddo cuteness), and you can also see the entire contents of the box, including descriptions of each product, here. So, what are you waiting for??


> > > Get your Family Starter Kit! < < <



Thanks guys, and I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did!

Announcement! Recording Of My Live Q&A With Eco-Vegan Gal Is Now Available!

June 23rd, 2014 - posted under: Furthermore » Inspiration

Happy Monday y’all! I just wanted to post this real quick here, and let you guys know that the recording of last Saturday’s Q&A is now available! So if you weren’t able to tune in live, never fear! Watch it here:





Or if you’re more the podcasting type, you can download the audio on it’s own, here.

I had SO MUCH FUN doing this! We both did I guess, since we ended up going waaaaay over time, haha. What can I say, I’ve got a lot to share! We talked about everything from raising vegan kiddos to preventing ex-vegans, and had a really fun live audience question and answer period at the end, where we chatted about eco and vegan weddings, navigating non-vegan grandparents, relying too much on carbs, and much more.

A big big thank you from the bottom of my heart to Whitney, miss Eco-Vegan Gal herself, whose wisdom and passion is absolutely infectious. I always find myself so inspired by her, and I know that you will be too!

And just as an aside, I spoke a lot throughout this video about protein and why I think it’s important. This is something I bring up regularly and I know that it can be off-putting for some vegans . . . as evidenced by the [raw] vegan who brought it up in the question and answer period. Which I was grateful for, actually, because it gave me an opportunity to clarify my position in a really spur of the moment, authentic kind of way. If you’re interested in hearing that, you can skip ahead and watch the question and my answer, from around 1:27:15 – 1:30:30.

Alright, that’s all for today guys! I’ll be back on Wednesday with another exciting announcement. See you then!

♥ ♥ ♥